The new universal leaf also includes Arista’s programmable Extensible Operating System (EOS).
“We have had the 7500 for many years, designed to be spine switches,” says Jeff Raymond, VP of EOS at Arista. “But always neighboring it were edge routers like [Juniper’s] MXs. The 7500R spine has full routing capabilities. This universal spine can now subsume some of the roles routers have traditionally done.”
In terms of the universal leaf, it is a way for Arista to gain market share with the huge cloud guys who use lots of routing in their data centers to handle east/west traffic.
“In cloud, where you have the apps talking among themselves, the actual north/south traffic is much less a percentage of the traffic [compared to] the east/west traffic or server-to-server traffic,” says Raymond.
An incoming search query may be small, but the computation of finding the response via servers talking to other servers is making the network wider, explains Raymond. Newer spine/leaf architectures are suited for this increased east/west traffic.
Arista also says its spine/leaf approach challenges traditional Fibre Channel storage area networks (SANs). For storage, Arista claims its 7280R universal leaf can cope with massive east-to-west traffic without intermittent loss, due to its advanced buffer memory.